NAIROBI — A separatist group in Kenya’s coastal region killed at least eight police officers as voting started in the first presidential contest since ethnic violence marred an election in 2007 and curbed economic growth.
The Mombasa Republican Council, which called for a boycott of the vote, carried out attacks in the country’s Coast province, Samuel Kilele, the provincial commissioner, said by phone. Six of their members died, according to Police Inspector-General David Kimaiyo. More than 99,000 security personnel have been deployed across Kenya safeguard the election.
An increase in support for Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, 51, has put him in a dead heat with Premier Raila Odinga, 68, in a race that includes six other challengers, according to a Feb. 22 poll.